Because of the DMCA, the RIAA can literally extort money from "customers" beyond the supervision of the law - it kind of reminds me of the good old days of sharecropping and the company store.
Remember what Tennessee Ernie Ford sang?
"Load sixteen tons and what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
St. Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store."
- The Recording Industry Association of America has begun preparing a second round of file-swapping lawsuits, notifying 204 individuals that they are in line to be sued for copyright infringement.
Unlike with the previous wave of suits, the record labels' trade association is giving the lawsuit targets warning this time around, offering them a chance to settle before the suits are filed. The change in tactics comes after considerable criticism from federal lawmakers and others concerning the group's first batch of court actions against 261 individuals last month.
"We take the concerns expressed by policy makers and others very seriously," RIAA President Cary Sherman said in a statement. "In light of the comments we have heard, we want to go the extra mile and offer illegal file sharers an additional chance to work this out short of legal action."
The advance notification preceding this second wave of suits marks only a small concession to critics of the RIAA actions, which have been the most controversial tactics taken by copyright holders in years of fighting piracy online. [CNET]
What is this settlement offer other than extortion, knowing that most people don't have the unlimited funds to pay for a legal defense against these claims? I am sickened.